What Does Operational Delay Mean? (Fedex 2022 Guide)

What does operational delay mean in FedEx? FedEx transports 12 million shipments every day. 85% of these are delivered on time. That's a lot of packages! But it also means that 15% of packages are delayed somewhere along the way. One possible reason for this is an operational delay.

what does fedex operational delays mean

FedEx Overview

FedEx Corporation is an American multinational delivery services company headquartered in Memphis, Tennessee. The name "FedEx" is a syllabic abbreviation of the company's original air division, Federal Express (now FedEx Express), which was used from 1973 until 2000. The company is known for its overnight shipping service and pioneering a system that tracks packages and provides real-time updates on their whereabouts. FedEx also offers other services besides package delivery, such as freight forwarding, print and document shipping, and e-commerce solutions.

In the early 1970s, Frederick W. Smith founded Federal Express with the goal of making it the most reliable overnight delivery service. He saw potential in using air cargo to deliver packages quickly and efficiently, but he knew that it would require a completely new approach to the way air cargo was handled.

Smith's idea was to use a hub-and-spoke system, with each city served by a central hub where packages would be sorted and then sent out on planes to their destination. This system allowed for faster and more reliable delivery, and it quickly became the industry standard.

Today, FedEx is one of the world's largest express transportation companies, with a global reach that extends to more than 220 countries and territories.

What does "Operational Delay" mean when it comes to FedEx?

Weather is one of the most common causes of operational delays for FedEx. If severe weather conditions are present in the area where your package is being delivered, delivery will likely be postponed until the weather clears. This is for the safety of both FedEx employees and your package. Customs holds can also cause operational delays.

If your shipment is going to a country with customs regulations, your package may be held up at the border for inspection. This type of delay is out of FedEx’s control, but they will do their best to get your shipment to its destination as soon as possible. Labor strikes are another potential cause of operational delays.

If there is a strike by FedEx employees, shipments will likely be delayed until the issue is resolved. However, these types of delays are relatively rare. In most cases, you can expect your FedEx shipment to arrive on time despite any operational delays that may occur along the way.

What is a FedEx Operational Delay?

When you see "operational delay" on your FedEx tracking information, it means that your package is stuck somewhere in the shipping process. Operational delays can occur at the origin facility, throughout the routing hubs, or at the destination facility. In some cases, an operational delay might be due to something on FedEx's end.

However, in other cases, it might be due to an event outside of their control. Regardless of the situation, an operational delay is a problem within FedEx's delivery infrastructure, and it is never the fault of the sender or the receiver. If your package is experiencing an operational delay, you will have to wait until FedEx can resolve the issue before your package can continue its journey.

Why do FedEx deliveries take so long?

Operational delays can be extremely frustrating, particularly when it isn't clear why they've occurred. An operational delay is a general term that could refer to many different scenarios, such as equipment failure, plane unavailability, port congestion, staffing shortages, or delays in transfer to a local courier. Weather can also be a factor.

Whatever the reason for the delay, it can often result in significant inconvenience for the customer. In some cases, operational delays may even cost a company money in terms of lost business or late fees. As such, companies need to do everything they can to avoid them.

While operational delays are sometimes unavoidable, there are often steps that can be taken to minimize their occurrence. For example, ensuring that equipment is regularly serviced and maintained, providing adequate staffing levels, and planning for potential weather disruptions. By taking these measures, companies can help to reduce the chances of operational delays occurring.

What does an Operational Delay indicate for the timeliness of my shipment?

An operational delay is a term used by FedEx to describe a potential delay in the shipping process that is beyond their control. Examples of situations that could cause an operational delay to include severe weather, airport closures, and mechanical problems with the delivery vehicles.

Although an operational delay can mean that your package will arrive later than expected, FedEx will often take steps to try and make up for the lost time and deliver your package on time. So, if you see that your shipment is facing an operational delay, don’t necessarily assume that it will be late. There’s a good chance that FedEx will be able to get it to you on time.

What should you do if you get an Operational Delay tracking update?

Once you see that your shipment is facing an operational delay, the first step is to check the tracking details for more information. This will give you a general idea of where the package is located and what might be causing the delay.

If you need more information, the best course of action is to call FedEx Customer Service at 1 (800) 463-3339. The customer service representative may be able to give you additional details about the cause of the delay.

In some cases, your package may have arrived at a local FedEx depot. If this is the case, you may be able to arrange to pick up your package directly from the depot. By taking these steps, you can help to ensure that your shipment arrives as soon as possible.

How long do you have to wait for FedEx to resolve an operational problem?

When you ship with FedEx, you expect your package to arrive on time. However, delays happen, and it's not always clear how long it will take for FedEx to resolve the issue. Unfortunately, there's no set amount of time that it takes for FedEx to resolve an operational delay.

This is especially true when the delay is caused by something outside FedEx's control, like the weather. That said, most operational delays are resolved within a couple of days. However, shipments (especially FedEx Ground) may get stuck for more than ten days.

Therefore, if your package has been stuck longer than that, feel free to reach out to FedEx Customer Service at 1 (800) 463-3339 for more information. They will be able to give you a more accurate estimate of when your shipment will be delivered.


In conclusion, FedEx's operational delay term is very vague. It applies to a variety of different circumstances in which your package is delayed, but it also tells you nothing about when the issue will be resolved. For those reasons, the best thing to do when seeing this term on your tracking information is to be patient and wait.

In most cases, the issue will get sorted out within a couple of days. However, if you need your package urgently, you may want to consider contacting customer service for more information.

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author: patrick algrim
About the author

Patrick Algrim is a Certified Professional Resume Writer (CPRW), NCDA Certified Career Counselor (CCC), and general career expert. Patrick has completed the NACE Coaching Certification Program (CCP). And has been published as a career expert on Forbes, Glassdoor, American Express, Reader's Digest, LiveCareer, Zety, Yahoo, Recruiter.com, SparkHire, SHRM.org, Process.st, FairyGodBoss, HRCI.org, St. Edwards University, NC State University, IBTimes.com, Thrive Global, TMCnet.com, Work It Daily, Workology, Career Guide, MyPerfectResume, College Career Life, The HR Digest, WorkWise, Career Cast, Elite Staffing, Women in HR, All About Careers, Upstart HR, The Street, Monster, The Ladders, Introvert Whisperer, and many more. Find him on LinkedIn.

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